Sunday, April 26, 2009

High Risk of Severe Weather

The Storm Prediction Center in Norman has issued a rare high risk of severe weather for the Western half of Oklahoma for this afternoon and tonight.......this is the first high risk in Oklahoma in five years. The potential exists for tornadoes, some of which could be long-tracked, strong, and large. I wasn't thinking the threat would be this serious, but anytime the SPC issues a high risk, it should grab anyone's attention, as they are the world's foremost severe weather forecasters.

Friday, April 24, 2009

Severe Weather Timeline

Trying to give details on severe weather events more than 1 or 2 days out is virtually impossible, but I am going to try to give a general idea of what to expect the next couple of weeks. What I do know is this: I can't remember the last time I have seen as much severe weather as what could be packed into the next 2 weeks. Usually you get 1 or 2 severe weather days, and the system moves on (under normal circumstances) and you get a break of at least a few days if not a week or so. This time, it appears the 1-2 day severe weather events will be separated by only 1 day breaks in between. So here goes:

Saturday- Greatest threat is over the Western 1/3 of Oklahoma. A localized tornado outbreak is possible over Western Oklahoma, including the possibility of large tornadoes. Threat to OKC-Slight and after dark.

Sunday- Greatest threat over Western 1/2 of Oklahoma. More tornadoes possible, possibly more than on Saturday. Locations will be highly dependent on how soon the storms move out from Saturday night and how much sunshine we receive. Threat to OKC-Slight to Moderate, and after 3PM.

Monday- Greatest threat approx. the SE 1/2 of Oklahoma. Biggest threat this day could be more hail, wind, and flooding than tornadoes, but that is still TBD.

Tuesday- Day of Rest.

Wednesday-Thursday- More severe weather possible, with some indications that one or both of these days could produce a significant severe weather outbreak.

Friday-Next Saturday should be break days. Hopefully the week afterwards also provides a break, but some models indicate the severe weather pattern will continue. This is really tarot card/crystal ball territory.

Wednesday, April 22, 2009

Severe Weather Outbreaks on the Horizon

It appears the real severe weather season in Oklahoma will get going beginning this Saturday. The models over the past couple of days have been hinting at a pattern that will result in a prolonged period of thunderstorms with associated severe weather potential and heavy rain/flooding potential. I can see a possible scenario of severe weather in the state every day from Saturday through the end of next week. Beyond the end of next week it's vague, but the pattern could continue beyond that.

This Saturday evening the severe weather threat will be over western Oklahoma, with the greatest threat over NW Oklahoma. Wind shear profiles look ideal for supercells: from top to bottom (surface) the winds go from W, to SW, to S, to SSE at ground-level. I imagine there will be 1-3 isolated supercells in western Oklahoma Saturday evening that will have the threat of producing tornadoes. Any threat to OKC appears slight at this time and would more than likely be between 10PM and 2AM.

Depending on where the cold front sets up Sunday and the rest of next week (which is highly dependent on the amount of rain that occurs with/behind the front), more severe weather and isolated tornadoes will be possible. One day I see on the horizon that could have an enhanced threat of tornadoes would be Wednesday, but that is not set in stone by any means.

Bottom line is this: Late April and Early May are primetime for severe weather in Oklahoma. Some years we are lacking in storms moving through during this peak season, but it appears as though a stormy pattern will coincide with peak severe weather season this year. Just stay weather aware over the next couple of weeks. If you don't own one, I highly recommend purchasing a programmable NOAA weather radio. The programmable radios are more expensive, but you can set them to just go off for certain counties and certain warnings (Tornado, Severe Thunderstorm, Flood, etc.) The cheaper ones give you peace of mind as well, but you can only program by county, not by type of warning.

More updates to come in the coming days!

Saturday, April 18, 2009

Work-Week Weather and Long-Range Severe Wx

If you have any extra time you can take off of work this week you may want to use it! Beautiful weather will be here from Monday all the way through the next weekend. There will be a little bit of wind, but it's Oklahoma, so you should expect that. Temperatures will range from the mid 70's to the mid 80's with plenty of sunshine!

I've looked at some of the long-range computer models, and I have a feeling things are going to get pretty interesting around here starting the first week of May. Until then, a large ridge of high pressure is going to build over the Plains and Gulf of Mexico, which will allow heating, and most importantly in terms of severe weather, moisture build-up. Starting that first week of May, a parade of storms looks to begin impacting the Central Plains. As opposed to the rest of the storms we have dealt with this year, these coming ones will have plenty of heat and humidity to work with. This will probably yield a few severe weather/tornado outbreaks in the Plains. I say the Plains just because it is impossible to pin down locations this far out. So get ready to buckle your seatbelts........we may be in for a bumpy ride.

Wednesday, April 15, 2009

Late Start to Spring

Anyone wondering when Spring will be here permanently? So far this Spring there has been an endless stream of cold fronts moving through every 3-4 days. In addition to keeping temperatures down, this has also reduced the amount of severe weather we have seen so far. The cold fronts have taken the warmth and moisture that is needed for severe weather and shoved them down deep into the southern Gulf of Mexico. So other than the February tornadoes, severe weather season has been tame so far.

I suspect our severe weather season will ramp up in early to mid May and go a little later than normal, probably late June. The second half of April will probably be warmer and drier than normal. This will actually allow the Gulf to build up some heat and moisture content so that storm systems that move in during May will have adequate moisture to work with. Bottom line as to my thinking in terms of severe weather: The rest of April will be quieter than normal, May will be normal, and June may be more active than normal.

Monday, April 6, 2009

Record Cold

It appears as though OKC is going to set a new record low for April 7th. The old record is 27, and we will probably get down around 25. We have been in a strange weather pattern with record snow, high wind, and now record cold. One reason for this is the Jet Stream winds have been stronger than normal over Oklahoma, pushing low pressure systems through Oklahoma faster than normal. This is causing the high wind and lack of rainfall, because storm systems do not have time to pull up Gulf moisture before they high-tail out of Oklahoma.

A Spring pattern is beginning to show up by the middle of this week. We could have some severe weather Thursday afternoon as the next storm moves in, but I think the main threat will be over Eastern Oklahoma. Tornadoes will be possible there as well.

A stronger and slower moving system is forecasted over Easter. Right now it appears to be more of a heavy rain producer than a severe weather maker. We could get as much as 2-3 inches of rain on Easter Sunday. We'll see how that pans out.

Saturday, March 28, 2009

Record Snowfall

Just not in OKC!

Laverne, Alva, and Freedom unofficially have recorded 25 inches of snow, with drifts approaching eaves of some houses and cars being buried. This total, if made official, would be the second largest snowstorm in Oklahoma recorded history.

Now everyone else be happy with your inch of snow and blame northwest Oklahoma for taking all of ours!

Friday, March 27, 2009

Oklahoma Semi-Blizzard.......Update

A weather balloon that was released this afternoon by the National Weather Service shows a small layer of warm air aloft (not predicted well by the computers) that is preventing snowfall so far. This should delay the snow in OKC until around 8:00 or so, and may lower snowfall amounts slightly. I'll go with 6-8 inches in NW OKC, 3-6 inches in central OKC, and 1-3 inches in southeast OKC. The heaviest snow will fall after Midnight, with some rumbles of thunder possible towards morning.

Thursday, March 26, 2009

Oklahoma Blizzard.......Update

As of 11:00 Thursday night, it is 24 degrees in the western Oklahoma panhandle, with 6 inches of snow on the ground already. All I have to say is.......get ready.

A very, very powerful low pressure system is digging south over the Rockies and heading our way still. I would be shocked if the forecast changed now, considering the models have been showing the same thing now for nearly 3 days.

I can't remember a winter storm that looks as impressive as this one. I would not be surprised if the snow forecasts below are exceeded in some areas.

SE OKC....Midwest City, Del City, and Moore......2-4 inches
Central OKC....Bethany, The Village.................3-5 inches
NW OKC, Edmond, Guthrie.............................4-8 inches
Far NW Metro.....Kingfisher, Piedmont..............5-10 inches
NW Oklahoma, S Kansas, Wichita....7-14 inches.....5-6 ft snow drifts

The snow should start around 4PM and last until Noon Saturday. Friday night/Saturday morning there may be convective bands of snow that form, which would be thundersnow. Winds Saturday morning could gust over 40MPH, which could cause near-blizzard conditions in the northern sections of Oklahoma City.

This storm could go down in the record books for most snow in Oklahoma City during March, and a top-ten all time storm somewhere northwest of here.

Anyone know any good sledding spots?

Wednesday, March 25, 2009

Historic Snowstorm

Northwest Oklahoma is the place to be Friday if you want to see the possibility of a top-ten all-time Oklahoma snowstorm. The computer models are spitting out unbelieveable snow totals, and they keep doing with each update. There is a very real possibility of 20 inches of snow near Woodward, with 3-4 foot snow drifts, and highways drifted shut.

As for OKC, we could have a few severe storms Thursday afternoon, followed by rain Friday morning, changing to snow Friday afternoon, and becoming heavy snow Friday evening until about midnight, before becoming light snow. Don't be surprised if we have some thundersnow Friday night. If you live southeast of Interstate 44, I would expect 1-3 inches as of right now. Northwest of Interstate 44, 2-4 inches of snow is possible. The snow should end by noon Saturday.

Spring will be quick to return next week with temperatures in the 60's and 70's. Early indications are that we will be entering a stormy period in a couple of weeks.

And You Thought Winter Was Over

Well, Mother Nature has different plans. In fact, it is quite possible that some areas in Oklahoma record daily snowfall records this coming Friday night-Saturday, and that NW Oklahoma experiences blizzard conditions at times.

A powerful low pressure will move south from the Canadian Rockies during the day Thursday and the associated low pressure will track south across the Texas Panhandle, then east towards central Texas and NE across Arkansas. Due to the fact that the storm will be carrying cold air south with it, this is a classic setup for heavy snow in Oklahoma (granted, not usually this late in the year.) To the southeast of the low pressure in Texas, Arkansas, and Louisiana, a major tornado outbreak is possible during the day Friday.

Here is what I expect right now for OKC: Rain and Thunderstorms during the day Friday. In fact, we could have a few storms that produce some small hail. As the day wears on temperatures will begin falling, and by 5PM the rain should change to snow, lasting through sunrise Saturday morning. North winds will be brutal, gusting upwards of 40MPH. There will be no travel problems becuase of the warm ground temperatures, but I expect 1-3 inches of snow on the grass and elevated surfaces for OKC proper. Northwest Oklahoma could see an incredible late-season snowstorm. Up to 12 inches of snow is possible up there, with snow drifts of up to 3 feet and near-blizzard conditions.

I will update this blog as the storm gets closer to refine predicted snow totals. They could go up or down, depending on the track of the low-pressure system.

Saturday, March 21, 2009

Monday Threat Levels

Alright, I'm going to give this a shot. This is my most reasonable prediction for Monday afternoon and night. As always, subject to change.

Tornado- Slight
High Wind- Moderate
Large Hail- Moderate

It appears the only thing preventing us from having a major tornado outbreak Monday night is lack of moisture......there simply won't be enough of it for many tornadoes, if any at all. Storms will first form about 50-75 miles west of OKC Monday afternoon, and for the first couple of hours after this there will be a window of opportunity for storms to produce tornadoes. I think most of them will brief and weak. As the storms approach OKC, they will probably consolidate into a line, and while the tornado threat will decrease, the threat of damaging straight winds will increase, mainly between 6 and 10PM.

Friday, March 20, 2009

Monday Possibilities

Details are still foggy regarding what is going to happen on Monday. Like I have said, many things can change, and there is still uncertainty as to what will happen severe weather-wise. I think there are 3 likely scenarios:

1) Oklahoma receives severe weather, but it is more in the way of a squall line rather than supercells. While this would diminsh the tornado threat, the risk of straight-line wind damage would increase.

2) Due to lack of quality moisture in the atmosphere, we have individual storms and supercells, but they mainly produce hail and wind and not many tornadoes.

3) We have plenty of moisture and supercells, which means all heck would break loose.

Right now, in the order above, I would place the probabilities roughly at I am slightly leaning towards #2, but all possibilities are still out there. For what it's worth, Gary England is forecasting significant severe weather, Mike Morgan reminded everyone about weather radios on the 10PM newscast, and is predicting a major tornado outbreak. I feel there are too many things in question to go out on that limb right now......we shall see.

Wednesday, March 18, 2009

Update on Monday

We are still 5 days away from the event I have mentioned in posts below, but I have seen enough to make a preliminary target area. North-central Texas, all of Western & Central Oklahoma, and South-central Kansas. In Oklahoma, this greatest threat would be in a box outlined by the cities of Woodward, Altus, Ardmore, Shawnee, and Tulsa, including the OKC metro. We can barely pinpoint severe weather for 2-3 days out, let alone 5 days out, so this is still very sketchy. But if model forecasts verify, this one could be the most significant Oklahoma tornado outbreak we've seen in the last few years.

Tuesday, March 17, 2009


I just glanced at the latest computer model forecasts for next week. I have to tell you, even this far out still, that the potential is there for a very large tornado outbreak somewhere on the Plains. By very large, I mean the possibility of over 50 tornado reports in one day, and right now the most likely day is Monday. Things can still change, however. I hope they do.

Monday, March 16, 2009

May-Like Severe Weather in March?

It is not common to be fairly certain of a severe weather outbreak with tornadoes one week in advance, but this may be one of those situations. The only question is, in what part of the country will they be? Right now I am favoring Oklahoma, Kansas, and Nebraska for potential locations of this outbreak that could take place anytime between Sunday, March 22 through Wednesday, March 25.

This scenario is still many days out, and many things can change, but it looks like a substantial storm will be affecting the Plains during this timeframe. All severe weather types are possible, including some large tornadoes and heavy rainfall.

I will update the blog more as the storm comes closer and will detail whether there is a threat for OKC at that time.

Friday, March 13, 2009

Where Are the Sunspots?

I ran across this story recently on the Web and in the news. Here's the jist of it. The Sun goes through solar cycles in a recurring pattern every 11 years, with a peak of activity, decreasing to a lull, and then back to a peak, and so on and so on. A minimum was predicted to occur back at the end of 2007 and early 2008, after which sunspot activity would increase. Well, needless to say the Sun has scientists baffled. For nearly a year the Sun has produced little to no sunspots, and this minimum in activity has lasted much longer than anyone expected.
How does this affect Earth? Well, during solar maximums there can be disruptions of cellular service and satellite transmissions, as well as more frequent Northern Lights. A more unknown affect on Earth is our climate. Some scientists argue that an increase in sunspots increases the amount of solar energy that the Sun emits, which in turn can cause Earth to warm. Decreases in sunspots, accordingly, would cause Earth to cool. Some argue that our recent period of "global warming" has been caused in part by increased solar activity.

An interesting thing to note is a period between the mid-1600's and early 1700's, which is known as the Little Ice Age. This period saw brutal, long winters and famine because of crop failures due to the extreme cold. At the same time as the Little Ice Age was the Maunder Minimum, which was a period in which the Sun produced little to no sunspots. Whether the two are related is up to debate, but it would be interesting to see what happened if the Sun unexpectedly entered a dormant period now as it did over 400 years ago.

Thursday, March 12, 2009

Nate Said it Would

Is it conceited to give myself props for mentioning the possibility of snow today nearly a week ago? (See March Madness post below)

Please advise.

Tuesday, March 10, 2009

Nice, ORDINARY Thunderstorms

It was nice to get some much needed rainfall without hearing tornado sirens at the same time tonight. The metro got anywhere from one half to one inch of rain, which was great to water in the new plants in our flower beds and weed application on the lawn!

I really thought there would at least be a couple of tornadoes in Oklahoma tonight, but I think in the end we didn't have enough moisture or instability in the atmosphere. For a severe weather event you typically want cold air aloft, between 5,000 and 10,000 feet up. This helps air rise faster in a thunderstorm updraft, giving it more energy. This is a long way to say that the upper levels of the atmosphere were probably a little too warm to produce significant severe weather.

One of the reasons I love weather is the mystery it provides. For as much as we know, there is more we don't know. All we can do is forecast what we believe the most likely outcome will be. Kansas had tornadoes this past Saturday with conditions that appeared less favorable for tornadoes than the conditions we had here tonight. The storms definitely had small hook-echoes on them around 10PM, and in fact one tracked near the Edmond tornado alley from Mercy up towards downtown Edmond. If there had been more moisture and instability, this storm may have become a tornado producer.

Teaser for the next topic to write plans on going on a one-day storm chase this Spring with a reputable storm chasing tour company........

Sunday, March 8, 2009

Severe Weather Risk Monday 3/9/09

I am going to try something for this upcoming severe weather season. When I believe a noteworthy severe weather event is upcoming, I will post the breakdown of the different threats and a brief discussion. The three categories will be risks for tornadoes, large hail, and damaging straight-line winds. I will predict either a slight, moderate, or high risk for the OKC metro and surrounding counties. So here goes for Monday!

Tornado- Slight
Large Hail- Slight
High Wind- Slight

Moisture will be slow to return, and clouds may prevent maximum heating during the day, but strong shear and the approach of a cold front will probably trigger some thunderstorms during the afternoon, some of which may be supercells. Wind gusts up to 60MPH, hail to golfball size, and a brief tornado or two appear to be what is expected at this time, generally between Highway 81 and Interstate 35.

Friday, March 6, 2009

March Madness


Friday- Highs in the 80's, high fire danger

Monday- Severe weather possible in Oklahoma, with tornadoes a possiblilty

Next Thursday/Friday- Much colder, snow possible in the northern half of the state.

No, I am not making this up. That is all for now.

Friday, February 27, 2009


In response to Liz's request a while back, here are some common weather and tornado myths:

1) It can be too cold to snow......false!
-The colder the air temperature, the less snow that will probably fall, but this is due to the fact that cold air can not hold as much moisture as warm air. So if enough moisture can be squeezed out, it can snow at any temperature.

2) Skyscrapers help protect downtown areas from tornadoes.....false!
-We don't hear of downtowns being hit by tornadoes very often, but consider the miniscule land area that they cover in proportion to the whole country. That is why they aren't hit very often. However, four downtowns have been hit over the last ten years: Fort Worth, Nashville, Salt Lake City, and Atlanta. I think it may be possible that a weak tornado could be disturbed by tall buildings. However, I don't think a mile-wide tornado that extends six miles vertically in a thunderstorm would care if a skyscraper was in the way. By the way, I believe the downtown area of Oklahoma City is long overdue for a tornado.

3) Violent tornadoes are confined to "tornado alley"........false!
-Here is a list of F5 tornadoes outside of "tornado alley"
Flint, Michigan, 1953
Fargo, North Dakota, 1957
Tracy, Minnesota, 1968
Wheatland, Pennsylvania, 1985
Elie, Manitoba, Canada, 2007

4) An overpass is a better tornado shelter than a ditch.......false!
-The higher you are above ground, the stronger the wind. So why would you go up an embankment inside a virtual wind tunnel to get away from tornadic winds? Tornadic winds are greatly diminished right at ground-level, so you are much better off to lie in a ditch. Many deaths and life-altering injuries on May 3, 1999 occurred underneath overpasses.

5) Oklahoma is the most tornado-prone state in the U.S.......true and false!
-Technically, Florida has more tornadoes per square mile, but they are mainly the weak variety. Also, while Oklahoma statistically has more significant tornadoes per square mile than any other state, we are really only using 50 years of data out of thousands of years that tornadoes have been occurring here. There are trends that show tornado alley "shifts" every once in a while. Sometimes the S.E. U.S. seems to get more tornado outbreaks over a multi-year timespan. Last year Kansas set a record for most tornadoes recorded in that state in one year, while Oklahoma had an average year. (Disclaimer: Our house has been within one mile of two tornadoes the past two years. I think we have a mini-tornado alley near our house)

Thursday, February 19, 2009

Not a Forecast, But a Gut Feeling

It appears the first couple of weeks of March will be active with severe weather, possibly affecting Oklahoma, Texas, and points east. In fact, the weather pattern shaping up for Spring is remarkably similar to last year. Last year we had many dry strecthes during the Spring, but they were intermingled with tornado outbreaks, which mainly spared Oklahoma (except for Picher) and hit Kansas, Nebraska, Iowa, and Missouri particularly hard. We would be extremely lucky to escape the major tornado outbreaks again this year. Gary England should probably start building up his sleep reserves right now......

Friday, February 13, 2009

Random Thoughts......OKC Tornado History

Here is a dual-purpose blog. First I would like to share a few thoughts from the Edmond/Lone Grove tornado outbreak. Second, I ran across an article from the National Weather Service accounting for OKC tornado history since 1890 that I would like to share. I found it pretty interesting.

-First off, I saw my first "real" rotation in a supercell thunderstorm from the 2nd floor of my office, looking 2 miles to my west at the first tornado touchdown on NW Expressway and Rockwell. This wasn't weenie circulation; I could see the entire base of the storm rotating, and it was illuminated with a bright white coloring in the clouds from the hail that was falling. I could not see a tornado beause of the rain. It was amazing.

-As crazy as this sounds, we are fortunate that the storms trained over the same areas for a couple of hours. Unless, of course, you were on the train route. The first storm that produced the F2 tornado in Edmond used a lot of available energy in the atmosphere around the locations it passed, so the subsequent storms had less fuel to work with. They were rotating, but did not put down tornadoes. If the next 2-3 storms in the line had each been progressively further east, I strongly believe that each would have produced tornadoes, possibly stronger than the first one. Thank goodness that disaster didn't happen.

-For as much as we know about the weather, we know twice as little. The same set of conditions that transpired Tuesday could come together again, but produce no tornadoes. After the storms became a line that evening, it appeared the tornado threat was over. Then a lone shower popped up in front of the main line in Texas, became a lone, renegade storm, and crossed the Red River to put down an F4 tornado in Lone Grove. Within an hour the line had swallowed the storm, ending the tornado threat for good.

The following is a look at a few historical OKC tornadoes. 125 tornadoes have struck within city limits since 1890. 8 of these were rated F4, and only 1 F5 (we all know which one that was). I have selected some noteworthy ones. Remember, wherever you live in OKC you pretty much are at the same risk as anyone else......a tornado in the past moving over your area or not moving over your area means nothing when it comes to future risk. If you do the math, only 5% of OKC tornadoes have been violent.

April 25, 1893, 3:30PM
31 deaths

At times, this tornado was reported to have been over 1.25 miles wide. It closely paralled the track of the May 3, 1999 and May 8, 2003 tornadoes.

2)April 20, 1912, 3:45PM
Large, elephant trunk that could be seen from downtown

The approximate path of this tornado was from 3 miles west of Yukon, to Memorial & Penn, to 4 miles east of Edmond. A school near Yukon was leveled 15 minutes after the students were let out for the day.

3)Notice the Odd Date & Time....
November 19, 1930, 9:30AM
23 deaths

One-fourth of Bethany was damaged or destroyed. The path was along the eastern edge of town, and was about 110 yards wide. It moved NNE, probably crossing the intersection of 23rd and Rockwell.

June 12, 1942, 8:41PM
35 deaths

Most deadly OKC tornado until May 3, 1999. Most damage was between SW 27th and 29th between Portland and Independence. Path width was 500 yards.

5)April 30, 1970, 1:00AM

This tornado cut a path 47 miles long and up to one-half mile wide. It went through the center of OKC, crossing the I-40/I-44 interchange and what is currently I-235 near 36th Street. 1,473 homes, 293 businesses, 8 schools, 12 churches, and 300 signs were damaged. Amazingly, there were no fatalities.

6)Extreme NW OKC
April 30, 1978, 6:20PM

Moved from just south of Piedmont to near Covell/Coffee Creek and Portland. Large tornado that was at least a mile wide at times. Oil storage tanks, cars, and stock feeders were lifted and carried up to a half-mile.

7)May 8, 1986, 6:12PM

Moved from 150th & Western and moved NNE, then NE, then east towards Edmond. The Fairfax addition was hardest hit.

8)October 2, 1986, 9:07AM

This tornado actually formed from the remnants of a hurricane. It started near May and Wilshire and ended on Hefner Road between May and Penn.

Tuesday, February 10, 2009

Unbelievable February Day......Edmond & Lone Grove

Wow. I am in a somber mood right now because it appears the path of the tornado that damaged NW Expressway and Rockwell and also North Edmond appears to have tracked almost directly over our housing addition. It just so happens the tornado touched down a couple of miles after passing us. We were very lucky. We are thankful that everyone is OK that was affected, and that we are OK.

After looking at the video, I believe there is some EF-3 damage in Edmond. This would be the strongest tornado to hit Edmond since 1986. It would also be only the second F-3 tornado in February in Oklahoma history.

On a sad note, please pray for the people of Lone Grove, just outside of Ardmore. It appears a large tornado, possibly up to 3/4 of a mile-wide, made a direct hit on the community. Also, there are reports the tornado sirens did not sound. I think there is going to be some sad news coming out of there.

Dangerous Severe Weather

If you have friends or family that live in eastern Oklahoma, northeastern Texas, or southern Arkansas, you may want to give them a heads-up that some significant severe weather is possible later this afternoon and tonight. It appears possible that these areas could have a cluster of several tornadoes, some of which could be large. Also, a squall line will develop and race across Oklahoma and Texas later in the evening, and the strength of the upper-level wind fields suggest destructive winds of up to 80MPH will be possible as the line races through. As of now, OKC is sitting right on the edge of the threat area. Storms may develop overhead in the early evening, then quickly strengthen as they move east of here. Hopefully we will dodge this bullet.

I have a feeling we could see between 10-20 tornadoes in the highest threat areas that I mentioned above. I will post an update today around Noon.

Monday, February 9, 2009

Stay Tuned....

Tuesday evening is shaping up as possibly the first tornado outbreak of 2009. We're talking temperatures in the 70's, strong moisture return from the SE, and a strong storm system producing SW Jet Stream winds close to 90MPH by Tuesday evening! Right now the area of greatest concern is north-central Texas and southeastern Oklahoma. However, the computer models have been trending towards the system moving out slower, which in turn would move the threat area back further west. We should know more about the threat area later today. I do have to say I have a pretty good feeling that there will be tornadoes in the state Tuesday night. We'll just have to see exactly where.

Right now OKC is looking at the possibility of some storms Tuesday night, which could produce hail and strong wind, but as of now I'll say the tornado threat will remain east of here. This could definitely change, however.

Saturday, February 7, 2009

Jessica Asked.......

Give your prediction on the kind of spring and summer we'll have. Dry? hot? Rainy?

Here is what my best guesstimate is for Spring and Summer:

The rest of February will be fairly stormy with 5-6 storms traversing (I like that word) across the Plains. Some severe weather will be possible, but the main benefit will be repeated chances of rain. I really don't see much snow in store for us.

We'll probably get one more shot of cold air in early March before Spring starts setting in. If we get no more snow it will be one of the least snowiest Winters in Oklahoma City history.

For Spring as a whole (March-May), I think we might be a tad drier and a tad warmer than normal. La Nina has kicked in over the Pacific, which tends to give us drier weather. However, even though we may get fewer storms, they may be more potent. The event of May 3, 1999 occurred during a La Nina year. Don't worry, May 3 might have been a once in a lifetime event. However, I will predict at least one larger than normal tornado outbreak during April or May.

Even though Summer is a ways out, I will go with slightly drier and slightly warmer than normal.

By the way, my prediction for Winter was colder and drier than normal. So far the drier than normal has been correct, but temperatures have been slightly above normal so far.

Liz, you're next!

Thursday, February 5, 2009

Reader's Choice

OK, I submit a challenge to the 9 people that read my blog on a regular basis.........I need some ideas for posts. What are some topics you would like for me to write about? Anything goes......anything that is family friendly, that is.

We should get some good, soaking rain this Sunday night through Monday morning. In fact, there is even a chance of some severe weather Sunday night, with the main risks being hail and damaging winds. Hopefully we can put a dent in the drought that is beginning to take hold across the state.

Monday, February 2, 2009

Change is in the Air.....

I am definitely looking forward to the end of this week. How about 68 on Thursday and Friday! Spring is definitely my favorite season and I can't wait for it to be here, but I know better than to think Winter is over. In fact, some of the heaviest snowfalls in Oklahoma have come during the month of March, so we've got another couple of months before we can kiss goodbye to Winter.

The change that is in the air is going to be a weather pattern change that will bring more storms and moisture our way this weekend and the next week or so after that. This is a good thing considering how dry it is starting to get around here. It looks like enough warm air and humidity will be here Sunday and Monday for some storms, maybe even some low-end severe weather. After that it appears we may have 2-3 more storms the next week to bring some much needed rain. As of now I don't think snow is in the picture, it will feel more like early April than February!

Friday, January 30, 2009

We Got Lucky

Oklahoma City got some ice and sleet this past week that definitely made the roads bad and caused a lot of closings. However, areas from far eastern Oklahoma through Arkansas and Kentucky got hammered with an epic ice storm. Some areas received 1-2 inches of solid glaze ice, and a total of 1 million people were without power for a time, and many of those are still without power.

I have always been fascinated by ice storms, in particular freezing rain. It is simply amazing to me that plain rain falling into sub-freezing temperatures can create the beauty and destruction that it does. I ran across the following pictures on a weather blog that I read often and received permission from the author, Brian Emfinger, to post them here. His website is For my money, these are the most amazing ice storm pictures I have ever seen. Keep in mind that in some of the mountainous areas of NW Arkansas, over 90% of the trees have been snapped over or topped-off. These areas may not look the same for another decade.

The following picture was taken in the mountains near Pouteau. Not Canada. Oklahoma.
Notice in the next picture the ice at higher levels and not so much ice in the valley. The rain had time to freeze into sleet at lower levels before hitting the ground, but on the tops of mountains the rain didn't have enough time to freeze into pellets before hitting the trees, so the rain froze onto the trees.

Monday, January 26, 2009

Friendly Public Service Announcement

If you will be driving Monday afternoon/evening and/or Tuesday morning, be EXTREMELY careful. Temperatures have been at or below freezing for a while, and are bottoming out in the lower 20's right now. Any rain that falls tomorrow will freeze INSTANTLY on surfaces since everything outside is chilled. Don't be the yahoo who thinks they can go 40MPH becuase they have 4-wheel drive.......

Sunday, January 25, 2009

Ice Forecast

OK, after looking at everything this morning, I am going to forecast a total of a quarter of an inch of ice accumulation when all is said and done Wednesday. This is enough to make the roads bad, cause some power outages to areas that lose power easily, but this will not be to the extent of last year's storm. I still feel that way. Also, some of the freezing rain will probably mix with sleet at times, making the glaze ice a little less. The worst and heaviest of the precipitation will be from sunset Monday evening through sunrise Tuesday morning.

Updates later if things change.

Saturday, January 24, 2009

Ice Storm Update

Here's the latest on my thinking......we are going to be below freezing from Monday morning all the way through Wednesday morning, which isn't good. However, I think the heaviest freezing rain will fall SE of OKC, while OKC gets a mix of freezing rain and sleet at times. I will say we get a quarter of an inch of ice total, which definitely will make driving dangerous, and may cause some branches to come down and minor power interruptions, but not to the extent of last year's ice storm. This is still subject to change, so I'll post again tomorrow on the latest.

Uh Oh.....Another Crippling Ice Storm?

You may have seen some local forecasts the past few days mentioning the chance of a bit of freezing rain on Monday....enough to cause travel problems but not enough for much beyond that.

Well, after looking at the National Weather Service website Saturday morning, I have to say that we may be in store for something much worse from Monday all the way through possibly Thursday. The tough part of the forecast is that there are so many variables to try to predict:

1) How much moisture will be available, considering how dry it has been lately?
2) How long will temperatures be below freezing? How long will the arctic air hold on?
3) Will the heaviest rain fall in parts of the state that are above freezing or below freezing?

Right now, it looks like the majority of precipitation will fall as freezing rain. Not good. When you hear pinging sounds on the windows, that is sleet, which is much better than plain rain when it is below freezing. We may have freezing drizzle during the day Monday, but the heaviest rain will probably start Monday night into Tuesday morning. Unfortunately, some models have freezing rain falling through Wednesday.

How much freezing rain? The two main computer models have differing opinions. One model says between 0.25 and 0.75 inches of rain, which would cause travel problems and maybe a few power problems, but nothing like last year. The other model shows Armageddon, with between 1 and 2 inches of FREEZING rain. This would be another crippling ice storm like what we had last winter. Right now I am siding (wishcasting) with the 0.25-0.75 inch forecast, but I will post an update later if my thinking changes.

Friday, January 9, 2009

Really, Really, Really, Really Cold

Just got home from work and am now getting ready for a baby tonight! So I thought one more Nateorology post before Anna's arrival would suffice.

Prediction: Either next Thursday night or Friday night, the official low in OKC will be near zero, like I said would happen at least once this winter in my earlier Winter forecast. A huge arctic airmass is going to dislodge from Alaska and Canada and head south. It is going to be brutally cold. Welcome home, I mean Welcome to Oklahoma, Brandon!